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Did you know that nearly 2.8 million youth in the Unites States will run away this year? Thanks to Safe Place sites like the Tulsa City-County Library, local youth have a safe place to go in times of crisis.
Operated locally by Youth Services of Tulsa, Safe Place provides runaways and other youth in a crisis a safe place in their own neighborhoods, where they can seek help with issues like abuse, serious family conflicts and other dangers.
Youth Services of Tulsa officially designated Tulsa City-County Library’s 25 locations as Safe Place sites, as well as unveiled a new Safe Place sign, during National Safe Place Week, March 17-23.
“This is an exciting opportunity for us to expand our program,” said Jim Walker, executive director of Youth Services of Tulsa. “Libraries are warm and cool to protect youth from the weather. Libraries also are a great place to connect with others with computers and gather information to move forward.”
“We are the first responders for those seeking educational assistance and empowerment for their lives,” said Gary Shaffer, Tulsa City-County Library CEO. “One of our main goals at the library is that Tulsa County children will grow up able to compete globally. As a community, we have a responsibility for the well-being of all children, from their safety to encouraging their educational aspirations.”
Safe Place is a national youth outreach program that connects businesses and volunteers to provide help to youth facing neglect, abuse, bullying or serious family problems. Last year, 221 local youth found safety at Safe Place sites.
With the addition of Tulsa City-County Library’s 25 locations, local youth now have access to 216 Safe Place sites in the Tulsa metro area, including QuikTrip stores, fire stations, police departments, EMSA ambulances and Tulsa Transit buses. Safe Place sites are easily recognized by their large yellow and black Safe Place signs. When youth experience danger at home or in peer relationships, they can go to a Safe Place site and tell an employee “I need a safe place.” In turn, the employee will call Youth Services, which will send a volunteer to assist the youth.
For more information about the Safe Place program, contact Youth Services of Tulsa online at http://www.yst.org or by phone at 918-582-0061.